The Endocrinology Research Laboratory at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute (SCBI) is the largest, most productive, and most respected wildlife laboratory in the world. It has contributed significantly to research into the biology of a vast array of species (over 140 to date), as well as training more than 150 students, postdocs and visiting scientists involved in species conservation. It also is the first and largest endocrine service laboratory for wildlife species, and works with zoos in all 50 states, as well as government and non-government conservation agencies and universities. It is world-renowned for research on elephants and contributions to the discoveries of unique endocrine mechanisms and fertility challenges, as well as playing a key role in ex situ management of elephants in the U.S. and in range states. Staff scientists have pioneered important concepts in reproductive biology for threatened and endangered species and have created new conservation tools, including noninvasive approaches for monitoring hormone profiles. Endocrine research is connected to complimentary tools in the fields of veterinary medicine, nutrition, animal husbandry, conservation physiology, population biology, and genomics and in that way is highly collaborative.
This internship will be located at the SCBI’s Front Royal, Virginia campus. The selected candidate is eligible to receive free, on-site dormitory-style housing as well as a stipend.
Please note: this internship does NOT involve working directly with animals.
Interns will receive training under the supervision of the Department of Reproductive Sciences staff that involves biological sample processing and analysis, record keeping, and data presentation. Samples come from a diverse array of species, include elephant, clouded leopard, elk, moose, small primates, bears, and reptiles. The internship focuses primarily on assisting with the day-to-day tasks that are essential for continuous operation of a high volume laboratory, but work will also include assisting with the lab’s research.
This internship provides a unique opportunity to learn skills pertaining to endocrinology and daily operation of a conservation-focused laboratory. Interns will receive training and mentorship to learn about:
- Cataloging and organizing research samples
- Crushing and weighing dried fecal samples
- Extracting hormones from fecal samples
- Conducting enzyme immunoassays to measure hormones
- Data entry and some statistical analyses
- Interpreting hormone data and profiles
- Have completed at least 3 years of undergraduate coursework, including the equivalent of at least two semesters of laboratory work
- Be efficient, organized, and possess strong quantitative and computer skills (especially Excel)
- Have good written and verbal communication skills
- Commit to a minimum of 40 hours/week unless other arrangements are agreed upon
- Be flexible when changes occur
- Be interested in animal conservation and research and willing to engage in a team environment with staff and other interns
- Complete fingerprinting and pass a federal background check
The internship hours are Monday to Friday from 9 a.m.-5 p.m., but some scheduling flexibility may be permitted upon completion of basic laboratory safety and technical training sessions.
Internship lasts for 6 months or longer, and is scheduled to begin January 8, 2024.
To apply, go to: solaa.si.edu and select "New to SOLAA? Create Account Here."
Information that will be requested (in SOLAA) includes:
- Basic personal information
- Resume or CV
- A one-page statement of your interest in pursuing this position. The statement should mention relevant experience, career goals, your reasons for wanting this internship, and what you hope to gain from the experience. Your statement is very important during application evaluations.
- Contact information for two references
Once you create your account and provide the information above, you will see a screen where you select the type of appointment you are interested in. You will select:
- Type of appointment: “Internship”
- Unit of interest: “National Zoological Park”
- Program: “National Zoological Park Internship Program”
- Project: “Wildlife Endocrinology Lab Internship”
Important: Your application is considered complete when you hit “Submit.”